Casualty of Capitalism

Exiled into Wilmington, Delaware by virtue of corporate layoffs. (Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this blog are Copyright 2005, Michael Collins, and cannot be used without permission.)

Location: Wilmington, Delaware, United States

Graduate of University of Maryland School of Law; University of Maryland, College Park (Economics/Political Science).

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Sage Advice

Andrew Sullivan speaks about the dangers of labelling. I heartily agree:

WRONG = LEFT: Jonah gets emails very much along the lines I do. If you quibble with any aspect of conservative-Bush orthodoxy, you've gone "left." This is, of course, moronic. A realist critique of Bush's interventionism is not left-wing. A small government criticism of deficits is not liberal. A defense of states' rights against the Bush Justice Department is not left-wing. Now, you may agree with the Bushies on all these issues - but the notion that all disagreement is "liberal" is loopy. It comes, I think, from the moronic Hannity-style conservatism that has essentially degenerated into high-school name-calling of anyone who dares dissent. "Liberal" means nothing to them but a term of abuse. Of course, in many ways, the best strain in contemporary conservatism is the last resort of old-school liberalism. But that would just confuse the demagogues, wouldn't it?

Name-calling is essentially conceding that you are not credible and have nothing substantive to add to an argument. I've noticed in conversation that when you lay down a withering set of facts and steer clear of name-calling or labelling, your chances for a "win" are substantially increased. I always point out to my opponent the moment they commence a personal attack as the moment they have admitted they can add nothing more to the conversation. If you are disciplined in your own arguments, and vigilantly listen for your opponent to cave to "high school name-calling" you are well on your way to enjoying some fun conversations with a frustrated counterparty.


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